It takes a lot to be a successful coach. To win professional games consistently you need to be an exceptional motivator, a near-genius tactician, and by far the hardest working person at the club.
There are some coaches that have stood head and shoulders above the rest, leading their teams to success upon success. Here are some of the all-time greats.
Alex Ferguson, Soccer Coach
Alex Ferguson is undoubtedly one of the most successful soccer club coaches of all time. Leading Manchester United to no less than 38 different trophies over 26 years, including two European Champion’s League wins.
The only regret among English football fans is that he could never be prized away from Manchester to lead the country to international success.
Pundits put his success down to rare combination of masterful strategic acumen, along with a monumental ability to motivate players and get the best out of them.
His longevity is impressive – given his consistently explosive nature on the sidelines, fans and press have wondered how he’s lasted so long without keeling over. In fact, the man only just retired, at a ripe old 71 years old.
The fact is though, tough old Sir Alex has led Manchester United to success after success, and will go down in history as the most successful soccer coach of our era.
Robbie Deans, Super Rugby Coach
New Zealand’s own Robbie Deans boasts the record as the world’s most successful super rugby coach in Super 12 history.
Say what you want about his performance for the Wallabies, when it comes to twelve-man rugby, Robbie Dean is unarguably the master. He’s led the Canterbury Crusaders to no less than seven super rugby titles, and has since had a stand erected in his honour.
Somewhat less successful for the Australian national Rugby Union team, Deans nevertheless made his mark on Australian rugby and will go down in history as a juggernaught of Super 12 success.
Richard Williams, Tennis Coach
Both the father and professional coach of Venus and Serena, Williams has coached his daughters to an unprecedented number of tennis championship wins.
The pair have dominated the women’s game for several years, and general consensus is that it was Richard Williams’ tenacity, impeccably high standards and motivational ability that was the driving factor their success.
He’s claimed in the past that theirs is a rags-to-riches story, recounting stories of tennis practice in gang-land Los Angeles with the sound of gunfire in the distance, which have met with some scepticism.
However, his achievements are unarguably inspiring – after hearing how much tennis players earned, he taught himself tennis and then taught his daughters, relentlessly driving them forward from obscurity to international domination of the sport.
John Wooden, Basketball Coach
John Wooden is perhaps the most famous American basketball coach, having been labelled “the winningest coach of all time”, and was widely adored by his players during his time courtside.
He won dozens of titles during his lengthy career, notably guiding the UCLA Bruins to an unheard of ten championship wins over two decades.
Many of his former players have remarked that he was much more than a coach to them, fondly describing him using words like “teacher”, “father figure” and “mentor”.
He passed away recently, at the grand old age of 99, and the NBA rightly paid great tribute to the man who gave so much to the game.
International Rugby Coach – Graham Henry
As much as we’d like to deny it, the most successful rugby union coach of all time is arguably Sir
Graham Henry, coach of the All-Blacks from 2004-2011. He coached the New Zealanders to 88 wins from 103 tests; a staggeringly impressive winning ratio of 85.4%.
Naysayers might argue that he took the reins of a country with one of the most naturally strong pools of rugby talent in the world, and they’d be right.
However, his ability to take that raw individual strength and talent and turn it into a shockingly disciplined and efficient try-scoring team was simply unparalleled.
It’s fair to say that he was the reason why the All-Blacks maintained dominance of international test rugby for the better part of a decade, culminating in a triumphant World Cup Final victory over France in 2011.
Marcus Falley is a contributor to Study Now, Australia’s biggest directory of online courses including sport and fitness courses. In addition to writing for Study Now, Marcus is a keen amateur surf ski paddler, photographer and marathon runner.
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